We all watched and waited as Pastor Saeed Abedini was held in an Iranian prison for over three years, wondering if he’d ever be released. Now that he’s been home for a few months, we’re seeing that his life may not be as wonderful as he’d hoped during his incarceration because marital problems have caused a legal separation. According to KVIV-TV, Channel 6 ABC, He even went so far as to claim his marriage has caused his life here to be more difficult than his life in Iranian prison.
I can say my life after I got released is harder than when I was in prison because of the media and all the false accusations. After my freedom, people who prayed for me for years every night couldn’t rejoice for my freedom because of the things in the media.”
His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, fought tirelessly for him to be freed, traveling across the country and even meeting with President Obama once and securing a promise from him that he’d work toward her husband’s release. Unfortunately, a few months prior to his release she gave a little release herself: information regarding her marriage and the abuse she suffered at his hands. She claims the legal separation and other legal filings were strictly for the purpose of ensuring that her children would remain in Idaho with her while she and her husband work on their marriage. Both have expressed hope that their marriage will survive and that God will help them.
According to Naghmeh, their marriage prior to his capture in Iran was riddled with problems due to the abuse she suffered at his hands. The Washington Post said that she was a victim of abuse that was “physical, spiritual and emotional” for most of her married life. The pastor himself denies any abuse occurred but does believe the marriage needs work. About two months prior to his release, Naghmeh released a statement to her Facebook followers and those who have given their support and prayers and apologized for not revealing the marital abuse she’d been enduring.
Mrs. Abedini seems to have been more outspoken about the details of their marital problems than her husband. He’s mostly stated he prefers to handle their marriage problems with the help of God, and to do so privately. He did voice praise for her efforts during his absence when he spoke with the Idaho Statesman.
“Naghmeh has been a hero to me and suffered enormously as a result of being 7,000 miles away from me and being a single parent to our two precious children while traveling and leading a crusade on my behalf. I will always love her for her sacrifice.”
As of now, the pastor says he wants to continue to work on his relationship with his wife and to continue in his close relationship with his children. He plans to return to public speaking at churches and other various events in order to share his experiences in the Iranian prison as well as his statements of faith surrounding his beliefs that God allowed his freedom and will be the one to help him and his wife restore their marriage.
He says his desire is to see America return to God and that he prays and preaches for revival here. He is determined to one day return to the Middle East and continue to share his message of faith and the gospel message he risked his life to share in the past. He believes it will be a time of sweeping revival and that when he does go back, it will be a time when he’s allowed to freely speak and preach the gospel in freedom.
As for his marriage, he denies any allegations of abuse. He says the things that have been said about him in the media are completely untrue. These false statements, he believes, have caused the people who prayed for his release for so long to be unable to rejoice in his freedom. He’s currently working on a book that will describe the events that occurred during his imprisonment and will use the book to tell his story and to evangelize. He will also focus on working to restore his marriage and allow God to heal his marital problems.
Do you believe Naghmeh’s account of marital abuse? Or Saeed’s statement that his life is worse now than prison? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images]